Count It All As Nought and Crosses

Stuck somewhere in waiting mode and somebody scrounges up paper and draws a hangman. The challenge is too much for Hangman Moose to resist! He quickly guesses their “Clint Eastwood” without so much as losing his head.

Now it’s Superhero’s turn. This is the name of a road _ _ _ _ _ _ . And nobody ever guesses this odd-named road between Baker and Barstow on the California Interstate 15. They lose head, body, 2 arm and a leg finding out there are no vowels! No A, E, I, O, U! Unless they luck out and guess the 3 correct letters, Hangman Moose will leave ‘em hangin’ high faster than Clint Eastwood ever did!

Curtis Howe Springer made up this name for his community in 1944 claiming it to be the last word in the English language. Today travelers just stare in amazement at the Interstate exit sign as they speed on to Las Vegas.

Correct spelling will be given at the bottom of this post. Can you resist peeking?

Not realizing this one great word is the only one Hangman Moose has up his sleeve, so to speak since I go around shirtless, the awed player makes a huge strategic miscalculation and switches games. He draws 2 vertical lines crossed by 2 horizontal lines, and then draws an “O” in one of the 9 spaces. Big moosestake! The desperate player has no clue that he’s just summoned a far superior Superhero, Tic-Tac-Toe Moose!

Our Superhero doesn’t even know that Tic-Tac-Toe was played in Egypt around 1300 B.C. and that similar grid games show up in ancient carvings of the Roman Empire.

He doesn’t know that there are 765 essentially different positions (state space complexity) or 26,830 possible games up to rotations and reflections (game tree complexity).

He doesn’t know about Noughts and Crosses or 9-Man Morris.

But he knows the winning strategy:

1) If the offense doesn’t take the middle, the defense should.

Corollary: If offense takes #2 and defense blocks in 4, 6, 7 or 9 instead of middle, offense can win. Same goes for the other 3 inside spots. Defense should avoid confusion and always take the middle if it’s untaken.

2) If offense takes the center, defense must block with an outside corner, not one of the four inside spots.

If both combatants know these simple rules, game after game ends in Cat’s Game until our Superhero outlasts by sheer German disciplined persistence!

So for now the best ol’ Broose can hope for is to bask in the fleeting glory of Hangman Moose or especially as Tic-Tac-Toe Moose. But like Paul I’ve counted it all for nought and crosses (Php. 3:8). I take up my cross daily and follow the One crucified (Matt. 10:38).

And I wait for that glorious day drawing ever closer in these perilous times when my change comes at the 7th Trumpet to a glorified eternal spiritual body with all the fullness of Christ!

Now talk about a Superhero! Yes, one who is a humble, obedient, Christ-centered servant leader eager to serve with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Family for whatever they have in mind forever. Forget about Donatello, Spiderman, or Batgirl! We’ll see what new name awaits (Rev. 3:12)!

Zyzzyx!

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FUN FACT: Our glory is our huge rack stretching 4 to 5 feet across and weighing about 85 pounds. Our antlers start to grow in early summer, covered with soft fuzzy skin called velvet. This velvet is filled with blood vessels that deliver nutrients to help the antlers grow. By late summer, the antlers have reached full size so the blood supply dries up and the velvet drops off. When mating season is over — it can make a grown bull cry — the antlers fall off! It’s all for nought! Except mice and rodents rejoice as they gnaw on the fallen antlers for calcium.

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On the Road Again

Start a car trip and it won’t be long before somebody starts singing “On the Road Again.” In 1981 Willie Nelson was nominated for Best Original Song for this catchy tune from his movie of the same name.

In the Bible two pivotal events happened on the road.

First was on the road to Emmaus, a town about 7 miles from Jerusalem, when the just resurrected Christ appeared to two disciples as they walked along discussing the incredible events they had just witnessed. Christ opened their minds to realize they were walking with the one resurrected (Luke 24:31-32)! “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road,and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

Then when they arrived home in Jerusalem to meet with other Christians, Christ “opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). In the previous verse Jesus specified the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. The very Scriptures many people want to believe are done away!

Once in a Bible Study a friend who came that night as a visitor — seeking to know God finally in her 60s, and with a Bible picked up that afternoon at a thriftstore — suddenly started beaming wide-eyed at the moment the minister quoted that verse. Later she told me that God opened her mind to understand what she was hearing from the Bible and she was eager to respond!

Second was on the road to Damascus — Syria-ously not a road to be on today! In Acts 9 Paul was struck down blind by God and turned around 180 degrees from on his way to persecuting Christians to on his way to making and growing them!

Both roads need to be retraveled. Walking with the One resurrected! Praying to have our minds opened every time we are about to study God’s Bible. Being renewed in the Spirit every day to be changed from the old man to the new man in Christ (Eph. 4:22-24).

Such privilege makes me start Waylon: “On the road again! Goin’ places that I’ve never been. See’in things that I may never see again.”

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FUN FACT: Being on the road again gives me the Willies! It can be dangerous for us both. In Alaska moose are the #1 collider with cars. You often get the worst end of the deal!

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His “Bless You” Was Nothing to Sneeze At!

Israel clamored for a king just like all the nations. Who’d they get for their George Washington, who is famous for admitting “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree.” Saul says sheepishly “I’ve been a baaaaaaaaad boy!”

However, Saul says he’s been given a bad rap and falsely accused of trying to kill David; he claims he was only innocently offering a stick of gum: a Spearmint for David. To futher gum up the works, Adam and Eve fell for a Juicy Fruit.

One of the most hilarious stories in the Bible is the one about Baalim. He was a powerful, revered religious figure. His “bless you” was nothing to sneeze at. He wanted to bless the enemies of Israel so badly and enjoy their wonderful bribes, but like all evil from Satan on down, he could only do what God allowed him to get away with. In this case, being ceremoniously undone by the beast of burden he was riding. The critter talks to Baalim! And he is so caught up in the mayhem at the moment that he doesn’t see anything unusual in that and he carries on a dialog! What a hoot! Do I hear somebody intoning “Let us bray!”

The funniest thing I’ve read in the New Testament is where right after Jesus just got through resurrecting his friend Lazarus from the grave, his enemies plotted how they might kill Lazarus (John 12:10). What? He won’t resurrect him again!? OK, I guess they were plotting to kill Jesus first so He wouldn’t be around to bring up Lazarus again. What? You try to kill somebody Who has power to resurrect people! Well, God allowed mankind to pull that one off.

Seriously, so foolish and deceived to kill the Son of God? If I had been there, would I have shouted for His crucifixion? I’d like to think that I would have been one of the disciples. Yeah, the ones who all fled or ate crow. Then or now, I killed Him. If I were the only one who ever lived, my sins killed Him. His grace is unfathomable and unearnable but it will never be cheap. May I walk, with the help of His Holy Spirit, just as He walked (I John 2:6).

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FUN FACT: Jacob had it coming after all the times he tricked and deceived others, but I can empathize with Jacob waking up to find he was with Leah instead of Rachel because we have poor eyesight. To keep safe here in the bog, we rely on our keen sense of hearing and smell. Our big ears rotate for stereophonic reception. People describe our faces as long and heavy — probably like Jacob’s when he discovered the switcheroo!

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Armageddon: The Battle That Doesn’t Exist

The man of God would thunder with authority: “Blow the dust off your Bible and read for yourself what it really says.” The first time I did that didn’t lead to much of a discovery: “The King James Bible.” But once past the cover, it has become a lifetime of daily surprise.

With all the bad news bombarding us daily, we hear talk about the Battle of Armageddon and the end of the world. We’ve heard it all our life, even out here in the bog, but that doesn’t make it so. Believe it or not, Armageddon is the battle that doesn’t exist.

Even at the risk of causing another Dust Bowl, see for yourself in Rev. 16:13-16. Armageddon means “har-Megiddo.” Har means hill rather than something to laugh at, and nobody will be amused at this very sad and terrifying time for humanity. Kings of the earth and their armies will “gather” in Megiddo for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Historically lots of battles have been fought here. But not this time.

Precisely put, they gather here but the battle will take place elsewhere. Where?

Megiddo is about 55 miles north of Jerusalem The kings and their armies will mobilize down to the Kidron Valley that runs north and south between the Mount of Olives and the eastern gate of Jerusalem. This makes perfect logistical sense since at His return Jesus is going to stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). And you would think He will majestically make a triumphant royal processional walk on into Jerusalem through the Lion of Judah eastern gate that is walled up and reserved for His arrival.

My hooves have stood on the Mount of Olives and walked down to the wall, which is close enough to be the standard for a Sabbath day’s journey and to hardly break a sweat. Of course, if Jesus chooses to just pop on over, who will stop Him!

Not the armies which are merely like grapes clustered in the valley and destined to be stomped in the winepress of His wrath. How do they think they even have a chance fighting the Son of God, except through strong delusion by the one who relentlessly keeps up his losing cause.

Joel 3:11-16 and Zech. 14:12-15 warn about this earth-shaking battle. Joel says the Kidron Valley is also called the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Things will be a-jumpin’ there!

Joel also calls it “the valley of decision.” Anybody who gathers in Megiddo or shows up for the Battle of Jehoshaphat in the Kidron Valley has already made the wrong decision!

For anybody fighting Christ, it will be the end of the world! But otherwise the very reason Jesus returns just in the nick of time is to prevent the end of all flesh for the elect’s sake (Matt. 24:13) and to begin “the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

When all the dust settles, we’ll all be breathing a lot easier.

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FUN FACT: Gather and battle? Though we sometimes roam in small groups during summer, and sometimes form large herds in winter, we are generally solitary. Until the irresistible cows make us gather and battle with our horns for mating supremacy in September-October. After that is not the end of the world. We just go our separate ways until the following year and do it all over again!

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Do We No the Bible?

Are you one who really wants to know the Bible? Glad you do because there aren’t many moose, I can tell you that! You can feel like the Lone Ranger, and I doubt he nor Tonto did much hi-ho study away!   When you read challenging statements in the Bible, how do you answer:

— “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1)
No, science says life evolved and God probably guided evolution.”

Never mind no intermediate species have been found which Darwin said would be the refutation of his theory. Never mind Darwin confided in writing that he loved playing practical jokes on the unsuspecting. Never mind that every day more and more top scientists are stating that even the simplest life is too complex to have evolved and that the odds against evolution are too many 10 to the zeroes to even be a possibility.

— “All scripture is inspired by God …” (2 Tim. 3:16)
No, not that harsh outdated law-touting Old Testament which is just a collection of myths and stories and is done away anyway.”

Never mind that when Paul wrote this verse to Timothy, “all scripture” was the Old Testament.

— “Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9) and “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44)
No, this is my Father’s world and to my listening ear — it’s such a beautiful reassuring song until I start wondering why God allows so much evil.”

Never mind that Satan is the god of this age who has blinded unbelievers who choose his way (2 Cor. 4:4) and free moral agency is one of the best gifts God has given us.

— “[Forgive a brother] up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22)
No, he’d better be grateful I forgave him once, the scumbag!”

Never mind who likely needs forgiveness 490 plus!

So, all of us who really want to know the Bible. Does it sound more like we no the Bible?

Never mind that way of thinking. We should be saying a humble resounding “YES”!

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FUN FACT: We moose are named from the Algonquien Eastern Abnaki “moz” which means “twig eater.” The Algonquiens believed that anyone who dreamed of moose would have a long life. I can’t blame you if you say no to that one! But I do recommend that in your Bible study you stick to the trunk of the tree rather than get hung up on twiggy issues.

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The Prodigal Cat

Breaking news!  We were worried!

We have 2 cats. The neutered male, Panger, has long black fur and the handsomest white belly you just cannot resist wanting to rub. He is so friendly to people and dogs and has no fear. He helps himself to somebody else’s doggy door and greets those inside. He roams the neighborhood, thankfully checking in from time to time to tease us with his presence, talk to us about his escapades and gas up for another round.

Oh, please, Panger! Why won’t you stay in the yard where you’d be safe and always with us. But he demands his freedom and insists on carousing.

Last Thursday night at some unknown hour of mischief, Panger snuck out and missed curfew. Oh well, what else is new, our wayward son is gaddingabout, and we didn’t give it much thought, he’ll be curled up in his chair in the morn.  Alas, no sign of him pushing open the bedroom door before daybreak and demanding breakfast!  Time to worry.

Did he wander too far? To the hogbacks where a coyote would have feasted? Cat-nabbed by an adoring child?

With each day no Panger, our fears for the worst took on life. Did he go to a country far away where he wasted his 9 lives in reckless living? Did some pig farmer have him in slavery, with our poor Panger wasting away shunning the unclean? Thankfully our pudge had a few pounds to play with because he had just returned from apartment life in Denver.

We tried to get on with life but our minds were constantly thinking of our wayward son. From the first night, we’d go outside in a stupor and call out “Pangerrrrrrrrr!” and who knows how many times we repeated this act of pathetic desperation. In the past Panger would somehow hear our cries afar and come grace us with his favor.

Friday we walked all around the neighborhood and thankfully found no dead body. A call to the Humane Society turned up no leads. That’s ok, somebody has him trapped in their home and Panger is good at timing a bustout through open legs at an open door.

Our spayed female, Josie, never a worry, immediately knew her wandering brother was missing. Instead of being jealous over all the attention going Panger’s way, Josie assumed stakeout in the backyard by the fence scanning for first look. She looked like she was joining us in vigil prayer.

Today a week later that feels like eternity the Humane Society called with the thrilling news that they had a cat matching our description! We drove over and it was our Prodigal Cat! We were challenged to forgive because it turns out they were the ones who nabbed Panger. He was hanging out at the wrong time and place with some feral cats a block away on Mystic Avenue and got scooped up in the sting.

We fell on his neck and kissed him — on his irresistible white nose. We will bring his favorite blanky and wrap him up warm. We’ll kill the fatted can of salmon and feast on hugs and belly rubs.

For this cat of ours was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.

Oh yeah, instead of putting a ring on his paw, we’ll put an address and phone tag on his neck so poor Panger won’t ever be a prodigal cat again.

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FUN FACT: Bears, wolves and cougars! Oh my! Half of our young calves don’t live beyond 6 weeks. But our biggest threat is collision with your cars. Be warned because you might feel more like the one runover! Thankfully you don’t have to worry about us sneaking in your doggy door. Welcome home, Panger!

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When Will God’s Message Go Viral?

A new blog writer dreams of his writings going viral.  Aspiring artists post a You Tube video and hope it gets passed around the world on social media — like when an Irish priest surprised everyone at a wedding by singing a personalized version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and the video received more than 2.7 million hits within 4 days.

When will God’s message go viral? When will all peoples of the earth be singing “hallelujah” to God?

In the beginning God made His way known to everybody on earth, the catch being there were only Adam and Eve. Instead of singing “Hallelujah,” they were duped by the snake into the catchy tune “Tree for Two and Two for Tree.”

Surely all that would change with the second Adam … surely when Jesus walked the earth for 3-1/2 years, He would make God’s way plain to everybody.

But shocking surprise! After His death, check out how few disciples there were (Acts 1:15). Believe it or not, Honda bested Volkswagen for how many people could be stuffed inside one car because these 120 were “all in one Accord.” I don’t blame you for being skeptical about that, but when Jesus healed people He often told them not to tell anybody (Mk. 1:44). He didn’t want #miracle and set everybody all atwitter!

Wait a minute, didn’t Jesus speak in parables so people would understand the simple earthy stories? Let’s ask Him:   “Because it has been given to you [disciples] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…. Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their heart and turn, So that I should heal them” (Matt. 13:11, 15). Jesus followed His and the Father’s plan about when to call people.

But He did start His church and commission His followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations … even to the end of the age” — Matt. 28:19-20). Big hint about when God’s message goes viral!

Then at long awaited last! At His return the second Adam brings a new way of life so that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). Hallelujah psalms about “all the earth worships you” are an actual happening!

When you hear of an article or video going viral, you undoubtedly think, “Man, I want to read it or see it!” You want to be part of the excitement! The really exciting question is when will God’s message go viral to you? Hallelujah!

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Fun Fact: Moose are diurnal. That means chiefly active during the day. That’s good because the night is coming when no moose can work and there will be a famine of the word (Amos 8:11).

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The Check’s in the Mail, God

If you’ve been a landlord for anytime, you’ve had “the check’s in the mail” game played on you. It probably bought the delinquent and dishonest renter a few extra days reprieve, but soon enough’s he’s gone. Probably stiffing you rent because you probably already let him tap into his deposit previously while trying to be merciful.

It baffles me that people who owe somebody else can’t figure out that if they want the owee to yet extend mercy and work with them, they should bottom line keep their word.

But no, after you’ve already let the delinquent person have the whole month to make the payment that was due on the 5th, and wait another week to catch up for that month,  they not only don’t come on the promised day.  What’s worse is they don’t even feel obligated to tell you they aren’t coming, why not, and when they will actually come.

So you are busy cycling between thoughts of tough love and legal recourse while still clinging to the merciful command that “You will receive the same mercy that you show to others.”

It’s a good thing we believe that way because maybe we are not seeing how we are all too often telling God that “the check’s in the mail.”

Attention fellow sojourners, renters as it were, on this earth. We were bought with a price — the death of His Son — which we can never repay. He is so merciful that He is Mercy. He works with us! He’s so patient with us! But He Who reads unspoken thoughts can’t be conned by deceitful promises.

We tell Him we love Him, and want to obey Him with all our heart, maybe not even aware of how He defines love. Surprise, I John 5:3. God is Love. His commandments will never be evicted. God help us if we think they’re burdensome.

A person after God’s own heart, like David, will be thinking “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). Or is it just lip service? A yoga session? Another “check”? Our signature motus operandi?

God says anybody who wants to live in His tabernacle must keep his word even to his own hurt (Psa. 15:4).

At the very least we’d better be straight with God. Our check had better be in the mail. He won’t blame the post office.

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FUN FACTS: Our cows woo us to fight over them, so we bulls get seduced into pushing fights with our antlers. Honestly, it’s got nothing to do with love. A lot of it is show. We can’t go at it too seriously lest our huge antlers catch together and we both die. We’re not that ready to rumble! We’d rather humble — when it comes to our Creator, He was willing to die for His brothers and sisters.

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What Would The Blog of God Be Like?

God doesn’t claim to have a blog, but what if He had one? You’d expect the Blog of God to be like His Word.

It would surely go viral since more than 168,000 Bibles are sold or given away each day in the United States. God’s book has been translated into 2,018 languages. So visitors and views would increase dramatically and bring on the followers! I’m so envious!

But what quality of followers? In a recent survey, 78.4% claimed to be Christian. But only 27% judged themselves to be “Bible minded” which was defined as reading the Bible at least once per week and believing strongly in its accuracy. Poo! Blogs tend to be for immediate consumption so they could be missing a lot of posts.

How would the Blog of God be written? Surely like the Word of God: “Here a little, there a little, line upon line.” Like a jigsaw puzzle! Oh, so people will have a clear picture of the Bible’s message and have an easy time putting it together? Read the rest of Isa. 28:13 for God’s reason if you want to be shocked.

Who will write the Blog of God? The Word of God had 40 different writers from all walks of life. The Blog of God might feature a man like Paul who wrote 14 books of the New Testament’s 27. Though Paul probably thought he was writing plainly, Peter noted that Paul “writes some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16). And as they would undoubtedly do also with the Blog of God.

OK, there is not now and never will be the Blog of God because God warns against adding to His Word. Sorry, no other holy books. And no holy blogs. Put away the cannons. Especially aimed my way! God says His Old and New Testaments are enough for us to live by every word of life and to rightly divide.

But can you fault a thankful moose for wanting to be a tool in God’s hand and prayerfully create what He might impute to be a helpful though fallible blog of God. Hey, He once spoke through a donkey!

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FUN FACT: What am I?   Phylum: Chordata,   Class: Mammalia,   Order: Artiodactyla,  Family: Cervidae,   Genus: Alces. That sounds like the Apostle Paul writing about me.
I’m a moose.

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How Moose Evolved Hollow Hair

“Moose evolved hollow hair that enables them to float in water.” Your teachers and textbooks state this as being matter-of-factly so. But I’ll bet some of you are thinking, rather than bowing to such blanket doctrinal pronouncements: “Get real! Even given all the time in the world, how would I ever make my hair become hollow? Never mind a dumb animal figuring it out!”

Well, don’t pull yours out trying, if you want to know how moose evolved hollow hair, shouldn’t you go straight to the horse’s mouth!  Not literally, of course, because they’re bound to be naysayers.

Instead, just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale … wait, that’s Gilligan’s Isle, but it also happened to be where our heroic ancestor, Hoodwinkle the Moose, was facing the imminent hair-raising prospect of extinction. Here’s the rather unbelievable story in his own words:

“Once upon a time, the earth was filling up with water. All land was disappearing. One after the other each remaining moose was forced to walk the plank into the rising bog. Solid hair covering bulky body, each drowned.

“Quick, think fast! A cow in front of me was crying desperately for a solution so I gave her what I had: sprayed her down with 10 aerosol cans of Miss Clairol Soft and Silky. She drowned. But you’ve never seen hair so breathtaking!

“The bull just in front of me was bellowing — and it was the first of April not September — at me for some magical way to pierce a hole in each precious hair, but I didn’t know the drill. Sounded like a pipedream. Before I could think of anything, he jumped off a cliff into a cavern full of cactus. His wishful thinking was poked full of holes. And the pincushion drowned.

“I was the only moose left. Never mind who’s the fittest? It was do or drown. If I failed, there would be no intermediate species, which Charles Darwin predicted would be the downfall of his theory.

“I dove into the water with eyes and mouth wide open. I didn’t hold my nose. No plugs in my ears. The water rushed in and scoured every area of my inner head.

Building the Family of God ad“And that’s how moose evolved hollow hair. We’ve all been brainwashed ever since.”

Oh boy, what a story! It takes a lot less faith to believe that praise God, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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FUN FACT: Our fur is generally black or brown. Our young have a reddish brown coat. In addition to helping us float, our hollow hair provides wonderful insulation from the cold. And I’ll bet God knows the number of our hollow hairs!

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